For all the latest new theater reviews and stage listings, see below.
Our list of the top 10 plays in 2013 is this week's theater feature.
This is the last posting of Stage Raw at this location. Watch for Stage Raw in February at www.stageraw.com. For more information, feel free to contact me.
Happy New Year.
NEW THEATER REVIEWS, scheduled for publication Dec. 27, 2013:
GO: BOB BAKER'S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR What would Christmas in the City of Angels be without the seasonal magic of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater? This year's holiday special showcases the theater's universe of colorful, exquisitely designed puppets. Guests are invited to accompany the Merlin-esque Wizard of Fantasy and his traveling companion, Demi Star (who also sings a fetching version of "When you Wish Upon a Star"), as they take off on a journey with a crew of 100 "helpers" to revel in everything from the eight days of Chanukah to a memorable stop in Santa's Workshop. For the uninitiated: The show takes place in a large, carpeted room with chandeliers, immense red curtains and lots of space for the little ones to take a front-row seat surrounding the floor/stage, where they can interact with the puppets. Variety is the operative word here, and it applies to the puppets as well as to the astonishing assortment of costumes they wear. The puppeteers show complete mastery of the art, and they know how to entertain the little people. It's also loads of fun for the grown-ups, who will be tickled at the messy chatter of overstimulated kids and sounds of innocent laughter. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., dwntwn.; Tues.-Fri., 10:30a.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m.; through Jan. 5. (213) 250-9995, bobbakermarionettes.com. (Lovell Estell III)
THE QUEEN FAMILY'S VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL If you like your Christmas shows as twisted as a piglet's tail, this quirky tour de force is straight up your alley. In director Will Thomas McFadden's quick-witted production, it's the 33rd anniversary of the legendary Christmas telethon hosted by the teeth-rottingly wholesome Queen Family -- but this year, things seem to be falling apart, with family patriarch Joe (Brian T. Finney) severely in debt to the mob, two of the sons turning gay and Grandma (Mary Eileen O'Donnell) boozing it up. Still, amidst the hideous Christmas sweaters, there are variety acts performed by a rotating cast of guest visitors and even a visit by that merry old elf (no, not Santa -- this would be the child-eating demon Krampus). From a script by Speedo Belini and Shadow King (but developed by the ensemble), this show undeniably possesses charm and dark wit, but McFadden's staging is rather chaotic and unfocused. It's hard to evade the feeling that the actors are having a much better time than those of us in the audience, as we sometimes strain to follow the choppy narrative threads. Actors Gang at the Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City; Thurs.- Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 & 10 p.m. (310) 838-4264, theactorsgang.com. (Paul Birchall)
ONGOING SHOWS REGION-WIDE:
GO: Aladdin and His Winter Wish: Wit and the magic of a well-designed spectacle combine in the beguiling, interactive adaptation Aladdin and His Winter Wish, embellished with comic characters, polished performances and colorful tech and costumes. Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, Kris Lythgoe's engaging script preserves the basic story of a penniless youth (Jordan Fisher) who garners wealth and the hand of a beautiful princess (Ashley Argota) via a dusty old lamp and a genie (Ben Vereen). It elaborates on this with zany subplots involving the boy's humongous, man-crazed mom (Bruce Vilanch); his clueless, clownish brother, Wishee Washee (Ben Giroux); and his narcissistic evil nemesis (Josh Adamson), whose dastardly stratagems provoke the audience simultaneously to boos and laughter. When his luck runs low, Aladdin turns to the Slave of the Ring, a captivating siren portrayed by dancer Vanessa Nichole. If this sounds like appropriate fare for the kiddies but perhaps not for you, a mature adult, be assured: This is family entertainment in the best sense. In fact, a few of the jokes may sail over the youngsters' heads. Designer Chris Wilcox's dazzling lighting augments a storybook set nearly as vivid as any Disney cartoon. An on-the-mark company of dancers, including children, execute Spencer Liff's snazzy dance steps. One caveat: The vocals are fine, but the inclusion of popular songs from other sources (e.g., "You Don't Know Me," sung by Fisher's Aladdin) struck an odd note; I would have preferred something more original. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 3 & 7 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY, www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
Aspirin & Elephants: This is the 25th anniversary of the first production of playwright Jerry Meyer's angsty family play, and if the plot and situations seem as though they're steeped in the attitude of the 1990s, at least Chris DeCarlo's crisp staging keeps things moving at a good clip. While cruising the Norwegian fjords, middle-aged Jewish dad Steve (Kip Gilman) recovers from a heart attack that has left him feeling unmanned and depressed, even though he's doted upon by his lovely wife (Wendy Michaels). Meanwhile, their daughters are having marital problems: Steph (Amanda Maddox) and her careerist brute of a hubby, Scott (Todd Cattell), are at loggerheads, while Liz (Ryan Driscoll) frets that she earns more money than her aspiring screenwriter husband, Arnie (Michael Marinaccio). Murphy interestingly sublimates the characters' underlying angst and relationship frustrations behind sitcomlike one-liners; the barbs hint at the anger that lurks beneath. Gilman's jokey but indefinably sad Steve is engaging, and so is Michaels' fiercely devoted wife. DeCarlo's staging is serviceably pleasant, but the ultimate message of the piece is still quite trivial. (Paul Birchall). Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Jan. 26. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica, 310-394-9779, www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.
GO: Bob Baker's Holiday Spectacular: What would Christmas in the City of Angels be without the seasonal magic of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater? This year's holiday special showcases the theater's universe of colorful, exquisitely designed puppets. Guests are invited to accompany the Merlin-esque Wizard of Fantasy and his traveling companion, Demi Star (who also sings a fetching version of "When you Wish Upon a Star"), as they take off on a journey with a crew of 100 "helpers" to revel in everything from the eight days of Chanukah to a memorable stop in Santa's Workshop. For the uninitiated: The show takes place in a large, carpeted room with chandeliers, immense red curtains and lots of space for the little ones to take a front-row seat surrounding the floor/stage, where they can interact with the puppets. Variety is the operative word here, and it applies to the puppets as well as to the astonishing assortment of costumes they wear. The puppeteers show complete mastery of the art, and they know how to entertain the little people. It's also loads of fun for the grown-ups, who will be tickled at the messy chatter of overstimulated kids and sounds of innocent laughter. (Lovell Estell III). Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Continues through Jan. 6, $20. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.
GO: A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!: Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Second City's twist on the Dickensian classic is back to remind you that you've been naughty. Very naughty, in fact, judging by the responses from audience members, who are (anonymously) asked to write down "the worst thing you've ever done." Some of those responses are incorporated into the performance; the rest are displayed in the lobby. Penned by The Colbert Report alums Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort, the show satirizes both the original Victorian tale and other holiday staples such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life. Reprising his role as Scrooge, a caustic and curmudgeonly Ron West is so over-the-top as the classic meanie that you can't help but laugh at him. He's surrounded by a cast with solid comic chops, including standouts Amanda Blake Davis (as Tiny Tim and others) and Frank Caeti (especially in his role as the planted heckler). Though some bits fall flat (such as the Sinatra-esque Gino Santini mangling holiday hits), the anachronistic interjections, improv elements and running gags keep the good times rolling. Director Marc Warzecha's efficient transitions, aided by excellent design elements, support the comic energy put forth by the actors to provide some needed holiday laughter. (Mayank Keshaviah). Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 5 & 9 p.m.; Sundays, 3 & 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 213-628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.
Disney's The Lion King: Marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by award-winning director Julie Taymor, whose visual images for this show you'll remember forever. A five-time Tony award-winning production. Fri., Dec. 27, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 28, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 29, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 30, 7:30 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 31, 2 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 2, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 3, 8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 4, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 5, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Tue., Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 8, 1 & 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 10, 8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 11, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 12, 1 p.m. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 800-982-2787, www.hollywoodpantages.com.
God's Gypsy: Originally upper-class and also half Jewish, the real woman ultimately canonized as St. Teresa of Avila rose to prominence in 16th-century Spain during the time of the Inquisition. A nun given to rapturous episodes featuring personal visits from Jesus Christ, Teresa sparred openly with Church authorities over her pious determination to separate wealth and politics from the religious orders. Though Coco Blignaut's God's Gypsy traces much of this intriguing character's trajectory, the play doesn't operate as straight-up biography, opting for an emphasis on her spirituality while, despite an almost three-hour running time (including intermission), skimping on hard facts and useful historical context. As a result, the play quickly begins to suffer from the same overwrought quality that frustrated contemporaries spied in Teresa herself, an aspect not ameliorated by the production's penchant for mannered acting. Instead, standouts here include composer-musician Lili Haydn's romantic score and the handsome, atmospheric set design by Joel Daavid, who pulled double duty as director. (Mindy Farabee). Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 6 p.m. Continues through Jan. 12. Elephant Stages, Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way, Los Angeles.
Goldilocks and The Three Bears: Suitable for the kindergarten set, writer Scott Martin's benign adaptation of the classic children's story features Caitlin Gallogly as a friendly and cherished little girl, whose mom (Bonnie Kalisher) just isn't a good cook. Searching for adventure, the tyke stumbles upon the three bears' habitat and, after sampling their food and furniture, makes off with the recipe for Mama Bear's delicious porridge. She's tracked down (with the help of the audience) by Teddy Bear (Jason Galloway); the two meet, find they have much in common, then teach their parents (both sets are played by Kalisher and Anthony Gruppuso) to be unafraid and respectful of each other. Composer Richard Berent's tunes are simple but catchy, as are some of the lyrics (credited to Martin and Rob Meurer). The performers are veterans of this larger-than-life storytelling style; Gallogly is especially endearing and easy to relate to. Lloyd J. Schwartz and Barbara Mallory Schwartz co-direct. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 1 p.m. Continues through Feb. 22. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Los Angeles, 323-851-7977, www.theatrewest.org.
: Although the wow factor is missing, aficionados of John Lennon probably will appreciate this tribute to the iconic musician, which juxtaposes renditions of his most famous songs with a narrative of his life. Lennon impersonator and lead singer Tim Piper addresses the audience in a confiding manner as he relates events in Lennon's life -- his troubled boyhood in Liverpool culminating in the death of his mother, up through The Beatles, his marriage to Yoko Ono and his transformation into a family man and spokesman for the counterculture antiwar movement. There are no surprises in writer-director Steve Altman's script, and watching and listening to Piper, an American donning a Liverpool accent, failed to persuade me that I was hearing the real McCoy. That said, Piper's backup band, Working Class Hero, performs well and provides an opportunity for those who wish to reimagine the legend to do so. (323) 960-4442, justimaginetheshow.com
. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29. Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-213-6955, www.thehayworth.com.
GO: Kurt Weill at the Cuttlefish Hotel: Director-adapter Paul Sand's tour de force of ferocious Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht lieder collaborations, Kurt Weill at the Cuttlefish Hotel, boasts many of the trappings of a night of difficult theater: The venue, a shabby restaurant backroom at the end of the dodgy area of the Santa Monica Pier, is deliciously seedy, literally perched above the sea during high tide. The stage and all the seating are on the same level, creating dreadful sightlines. And, on the night reviewed, just before the show, fishermen on the dock below pulled up a dying baby shark, covered with tumors. How Brecht would have loved it! The revue consists of some of the great melodies of the Brecht-Weill canon, performed cabaret-style by an ensemble of sexy but sinister performers whose morally ambivalent attitude perfectly reflects the dark, carny atmosphere of the Santa Monica Pier after sundown. Whether it's the sensuously cruel turn offered by Shay Astar, who sings "The Ballad of Mack the Knife" with a cool, luscious voice that seems equal parts ice cream and razor blades, or the piercing vibrata of Megan Rippey's sweet but diabolical "Pirate Jenny," Sand's production, assisted by Michael Roth's dynamically evocative music direction, crafts rich and textured renditions of these wonderful, infernal songs. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 & 9 p.m. Continues through Dec. 28. Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, 310-458-8900, www.santamonicapier.org.
Lost Girls: Idiosyncratic characters, colorful language and clever one-liners don't always make a dramedy click. John Pollono's latest play is set in working-class New England and revolves around a divorced single mom, Maggie (Jennifer Pollono), who wakes one snowy morning to discover her car and teenage daughter, Erica (Anna Theoni DiGiovanni), missing. A call to law enforcement triggers a visit from Maggie's ex, Lou (Joshua Bitton), a state trooper. Accompanying him is his attractive second wife, Penny (Kirsten Kollender), whose presence fuels an already flammable mix of past resentments, not only between Lou and Maggie but between Maggie and her malcontent mom, Linda (Peggy Dunne). Director John Perrin Flynn has a skilled ensemble, but their talents don't coalesce into a believable narrative. The main problem is the plot's awkward contrivances. The production is often entertaining, but the many loose ends suggest it's been rushed to production prematurely. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 5 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 27, 8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 13. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 855-585-5185, www.roguemachinetheatre.com.
Merry F***in' Christmas, Y'all.: Mia Jensen meets her dysfunctional Texas family in a rented vacation home in the Colorado mountains for the Christmas holidays. Written by Marnie Olson, directed by Kerr Seth Lordygan. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Jan. 5. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, 818-508-3003, www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
Mom's Gift: A sentimental family comedy about emotional repression, Mom's Gift mines predictable scenarios -- getting a daughter married off, engineering intergenerational détente -- for a few genuinely snappy quips and some amusing battle lines without adding up to much more. Almost a year after her mother was killed by a drunk driver, tightly wound Kat (Gina Yates) returns home to celebrate her father's birthday. She finds there the usual sorts of guests: her ditzy younger sister, Brittney (Trisha Hershberger); Kevin (Cyrus Alexander), the neighbor she grew up crushing on; and Trish (Lisa McGee-Mann), the amiable home-care nurse who helped out after the accident. There's also one rather surprising visitor -- the ghost of her dead mother, sent back from the beyond with vague orders to right some wrongs and a mandate to rope Kat into her mission. Nice pacing, a soupçon of red herrings and a couple mild plot twists move the production along, but ultimately it lacks both real drama and credible warmth. (Mindy Farabee). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Jan. 19. Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-700-4878, www.thegrouprep.com.
GO: The Mystery Plays: Leave it to horror specialists the Visceral Company to concoct the perfect corrective to the season's saccharine tide of Christmas stage fare with director Christopher Basile's deftly mounted, minimalist revival (skillfully accented by Ric Zimmerman's low-key lighting) of playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's arresting duet of haunting -- and haunted -- one-acts. The haunting comes in "The Filmmaker's Mystery" when chance leaves a Lovecraftian movie director (Daniel Jimenez) the sole survivor of a holiday train disaster and he finds himself the object of a spectral stalker's (Michael Mraz) mysterious obsession. The haunted appears in "Ghost Children" in the person of a New York attorney (Devereau Chumrau) who is forced to confront a long-suppressed truth when she flies back to Oregon to assist in the sentence-reduction appeal of her brother (Alex Taber), imprisoned for slaying their abusive parents and an innocent younger sister 15 years before. Aguirre-Sacasa's engaging homage to the Amicus portmanteau horror films of the 1960s is elevated by a supremely accomplished ensemble (including versatile standout Frank Blocker) tackling multiple roles in a wryly poetic, keenly probing and spooky meditation on the unspoken fears ("the world beneath the world," as one character puts it) that power fictional mysteries and spur seemingly senseless, real-world frights. (Bill Raden). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 29, 3 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 5, 3 p.m. Continues through Jan. 5. Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., Los Angeles, 323-871-1150.
One Day Play: A New Year's Eve play that will be written, rehearsed, and performed in the span of 24 hours. Directed by Rebecca Hayes. Tue., Dec. 31, 8 & 10 p.m. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, 818-508-3003, www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
GO: Peter and the Starcatcher: Much like the dastardly pirates terrorizing the high seas in his fun Peter and the Starcatcher, playwright Rick Elice has ransacked the best of British kids lit, giving us plucky, pint-sized sleuths fresh from the Boy's Own adventures and larger-than-life characters straight out of rowdy pantomimes. Based on the 2006 novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the tale is an imagined prequel to one of England's most beloved plays, Peter Pan, Or, The Boy Who Never Grew Up. A trio of orphans, including a forlorn nameless Boy -- later Peter (Joey deBettencourt) -- are enlisted into service aboard the good ship Neverland, bound for exotic lands and bearing a precious cargo. Boy meets the Captain's daughter, Molly (Megan Stern), and they both escape to a mysterious island when pirates take her father's ship. No wires or stage trickery for this Peter, though. The low-tech staging (by co-directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers) is fresh and inventive, employing the simplest of devices, such as a rope held aloft to represent the crowded confines of a ship's cabin. The cast of 12 tilts and leans in unison to suggest the passage of the ship over uneven seas, and nimbly skips through a hundred different characters. The show is extra kid-friendly, with vomit, fart and poop jokes abounding, plus schoolboy pranks, silly puns and pratfalls. Two musicians perform gorgeous live music and sound effects from their proscenium perches above the stage. Thursdays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m.; Sundays, 6:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, 8 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 2, 2 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 8, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m. Continues through Jan. 12, $55-$110. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin: A humorous adaptation of Robert Browning's classic poem, written and directed by Jennifer Taub Gwillim. Saturdays, 11 a.m. Continues through Dec. 28. Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, 310-822-8392, www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.
The Queen Family's Very Special Holiday Special: If you like your Christmas shows as twisted as a piglet's tail, this quirky tour de force is straight up your alley. In director Will Thomas McFadden's quick-witted production, it's the 33rd anniversary of the legendary Christmas telethon hosted by the teeth-rottingly wholesome Queen Family -- but this year, things seem to be falling apart, with family patriarch Joe (Brian T. Finney) severely in debt to the mob, two of the sons turning gay and Grandma (Mary Eileen O'Donnell) boozing it up. Still, amidst the hideous Christmas sweaters, there are variety acts performed by a rotating cast of guest visitors and even a visit by that merry old elf (no, not Santa -- this would be the child-eating demon Krampus). From a script by Speedo Belini and Shadow King (but developed by the ensemble), this show undeniably possesses charm and dark wit, but McFadden's staging is rather chaotic and unfocused. It's hard to evade the feeling that the actors are having a much better time than those of us in the audience, as we sometimes strain to follow the choppy narrative threads. (Paul Birchall). Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 & 10 p.m. Continues through Jan. 4. Actors' Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 310-838-4264, www.theactorsgang.com.
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks: A touching comedy about a formidable retired woman who hires an acerbic dance instructor to give her private lessons. Starring French film actress Leslie Caron. Written by Richard Alfieri, directed by Michael Arabian. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949-497-2787, www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
Smoke and Mirrors: A semi-autobiographical, fantastical coming-of-age story about a boy who uses magic to escape reality after the death of his father. Interweaving illusions, special effects, and audience participation, themes of love, loss and magic are explored in this highly stylized show. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-752-7568, www.lankershimartscenter.com.
Something to Crow About: The Bob Baker Marionettes' musical "Day on the Farm." Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.
The Steward of Christendom: Set in the early 1930's at an Irish county mental home, where 75-year-old Thomas Dunne has been committed by his daughter. Here, his mind wanders in and out of lucidity as he remembers his childhood, his wife and children, and his career as the head of Dublin's Metropolitan Police, where he rose through the ranks to the highest position a Catholic could hope to achieve. Written by Sebastian Barry. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 5. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772.
STOMP: The international dance percussion hit. Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. Fri., Dec. 27, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 28, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 29, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 1, 8 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 2, 8 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 3, 8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 4, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 5, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Saban Theatre, 8440 W. Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 323-655-0111, www.sabantheatre.org.
Walkin' in a Winter One-Hit Wonderland: The 10th anniversary of the Troubadour Theater Company's A Christmas Carol-inspired holiday spectacular feels a bit like a drunk relative recounting an inside joke at a family reunion. Directed by Matt Walker, the show cycles through video footage and oddball characters from previous "Troubie" seasonal productions, revealing the origin story of one in particular: the Winter Warlock (Beth Kennedy), the gangly antagonist from the 1970 stop-motion classic Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, who in this version must be dissuaded, Scrooge-like, from quitting show business. Riffs on overnight sensations from the likes of Right Said Fred, Modern English and Gotye provide the soundtrack, but several punchlines fall flat, until their flatness becomes the joke. The self-referential gags may please the company's fans, but the diluted source material -- a dozen forgettable bands and an overexposed morality tale -- underserves the ensemble, whose sharpness is blurred here. (Jenny Lower). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 & 7 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 8, 8 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 15, 8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 19. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, 818-955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com.